Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My sexual fantasies are normal as hell.

Don't get your hopes up ... I'm not going to tell you what my most prurient secrets are, but I will say this: my shit is so damn white bread and boring compared to some people I've talked to.

Fetishes, fantasies---why do people need them? And where do they come from? How about this fetish: performing the act of intercourse. Isn't that good enough? Why do you want to mess up nature's goodness with twelve inch elongated plastic or the combination of you, your lady friend and a Well-Hung African American Man?

I don't get it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Pictures from my sailing trip!

The sunsets on the middle of the Chesapeake suck shit. I've never seen anything so ugly in my entire life.

The wind picked up and the boat was heeling up pretty good. You could reach down and touch the water when it was like this. We were steering the boat with Flight of the Valkyries blasting on the stereo so it was like Apocolypse Now except without the murder of Vietnamese villagers.

Yours truly.

We stopped at Tangier Island, Virginia. It's an island with about 600 year-round residents and their economy is split evenly between crabbing and tourism.

The only way to get to Tangier Island is by boat or airplane. After a few drinks one night, we drove our rented golf cart (the main form of transportation on the island) to the pitch black air strip and rode around in drunken circles. We came across this crashed airplane abandoned in the reeds next to the Bay. Unfortunately, it was locked.

The Cabin Boy, Greg, worshiping the sun god.

Greg loves cats. This little fellow's name is Mr. Nibbles---"Nibs" for short.

No guys' trip would be complete without a good old-fashioned arm wrasslin' contest.

We sailed into a restricted zone in a desolate stretch of the Chesapeake. This ship was dumped here by the Navy and is used for bombing practice. We wanted to see it, but when we sailed closeby we were hailed on the VHF radio by the Coast Guard, saying "YOU HAVE ENTERED A RESTRICTED ZONE. CHANGE COURSE IMMEDIATELY."

Our first stop on Smith Island was "Ruke's", the local hangout. The hardest drink was root beer (the island is dry). That guy in the back was talking in an accent that none of us could understand, so we're all sitting there quietly trying to decifer the marble-mouthed dialect. We did pick up that he liked some "pills". The locals told us that Smith Island has a population of 240, with no government or police force. That night it was graduation for kindergarten and 7th grade.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A Five Day Bender That Includes Some Sailing

On Wednesday I depart for my annual five day drinking---I mean---sailing trip.

These trips always include swashbuckling hijinks like meatball surgery and stepping on stingrays at night, so right now I'm too excited to concentrate.

Needless to say, this trip will not include females. Every once in a while, it's important for men to partake in outdoor adventures, sans women. If you're male, you should agree with me.

Something about overexposure to women changes men. I often realize that fact when I've spent more than 24 hours with only women. After a while, I catch myself making comments about the way someone's clothes look. Yikes! Don't get me wrong, I love me some ladies, but every once in a while a man needs to get the fluff out of his system. And what better way to do it than to confine himself to a wind-powered floating bar with liked-minded dudes, with only rum and buggery -- ;-) -- as solace to a complicated world?

I'll be back next Tuesday, but until then, I'll be here:

Later, office drones.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Shit god damn, my dobro smells like a French whorehouse.

All right, I ain't sayin' who it was, but I recently lent my dobro out to a friend and it came back smelling like it had spent a couple of booze-fueled nights in some 19th century house of disrepute. Fuck. I wiped it down twice with a paper towel to no avail. I can smell it from here and it's hanging 10 feet away on the wall! Oh, wait a second, that's not the guitar that I'm smelling, it's the perfumey residue it left on my shirt from playing it for 15 minutes.

What the fuck.

"Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office."

I found a frightening article (thanks, Ze) in the Boston Globe about how Bush has disobeyed hundreds of laws he has signed---unprecedented in presidential history. The article is rather long, but worth the read if you're interested in how insidious this administration really is. Some choice bits:
"Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead, he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes praise upon their work. Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files 'signing statements'---official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law."
Nowadays, I hear so much about The Worst President Ever, that I often lose sight of how real it is.

Wait, how did this happen again?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Why is the word "Oriental" considered derogatory?

My father does a lot of business in a place that I call "Asia", but which he refers to as "The Orient". And he's friends and colleagues with many people that I call "Asians" but he sometimes calls "Orientals".

A lot of people consider the word "Oriental"---which simply means "Eastern"---to be out-dated and/or derogatory. But is it? And if so, why? I found an interesting answer on Wikipedia, a website which never contains inaccuracies:

"Some people think the term 'Oriental' is derogatory, largely because of its connection to imperial 19th century Europeans and Americans who are thought to have held a patronising attitude towards the region. ... Major objections to the use of 'Oriental' are chiefly limited to North America. Its use is much less controversial in Europe and Hawaii, as well as in Asia where, especially in Southeast Asian countries, the word is in comparatively widespread usage. In Europe the term is used to describe such things as the East's cuisine and goods, ancient culture, and religions, at times to denote an exotic quality with upmarket or mildly positive connotations."
So, North Americans are still upset because of attitudes that prevailed in the 19th century. Huh?

My dad is either very worldly, or just far and above philistine American backwardness and isolation. And damn, he's so down with his brothas and sistas from China, Thailand, Korea and Indonesia, that he's even allowed to call them 'Orientals'. My dad is The Shit, people.

Or maybe it's because in the 60s he occasionally played bass for Katherine & the Firebyrds (right).

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Men: Pregnancy---Women: Sharks

I usually avoid trite commentary about the quirky differences between men and women, but let's suspend that rule for a moment. Below are two typical true life scenarios.

A man is told that his friend's wife is preggers. That night, he relates it to his wife: "Oh hey, Jason's wife is pregnant". He assumed (wrongly) that he got all the info he needed---that a mutual friend has a baby in her stomach. Think again, gentlemen. Men forget that it's crucial to find out 1) when the baby is due; 2) what it might be named; 3) something about "trimesters"---whatever that means; and 4) whether an "ultrasound" has been done. The details are key.

Conversely, this gender divide is similar to an email I got from my friend Rachel today:
hey lonnie-
My cousin Jamie from Richmond caught a shark. Thought you might be
interested in the photo...


I responded:
HOLY SHIT. where was it caught? what was he using for bait? how many pounds? How long did it take to fight? details, rachel, details - lb
To illustrate my point, I provide you with her response:
sorry lonnie I don't know the details... looks like it was just off the
beach. I don't really talk to my cousin so i don't have his email.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Fuck Pennies: They're Worthless Pieces of Currency

If I receive pennies as change, I throw them in the trash because it's annoying as shit having valueless metal discs cluttering my pockets.

Let us get rid of them once and for all. Call the Federal Reserve. End their production. You cannot buy anything with less than a nickel's worth of pennies---rendering them completely useless. Sure, if you save pennies for a few years you might be able to purchase a package of dress socks at Hecht's, but not much more.

Ugh. I can't stand the sound of the word "penny"; it's too much like "pussy", "ninny" or "pantie", and no one likes to utter those disgusting words, either.

Or maybe this is testament to how decadent my life is. Lonnie Bruner: a man who's such a high roller, he throws pennies in the trash ... Yea. That's how I want to be known.

Things are GOOD now, and they're only getting better. Trust me.

I finally got around to seeing the Dada show at the National Gallery.

One thing that kept hitting me was how good we have it today. For instance, World War One cost Germany around 1,400 deaths per day from 1914 - 1918. The entire war killed 10 million people. That's like a daily September 11th for all of Europe. That's something to make art about, god dammit.

But when I talk modern-day politics with friends, their fatalism is sometimes blinding, and you'd think that 2006 is the worst time for a human to be alive. They believe that things progressively get worse as time goes on.

That's flat wrong.

Take a look at the above painting by George Grosz from the inter-war period. It depicts Berlin's streets as "crowded with unprincipled profiteers, prostitutes, war-crippled dregs and a variety of peverts." In short, life was a shit-spattered cess pool full of depression, murder, cynicism and blood. Now compare that with the streets of gold that pave most of the world today in comparison.

The history of the global north (then, the "developing world") from the 19th century to the end of World War II can be summed up like this: expansion, depression, expansion, depression, war, expansion, depression, expansion, depression, war, etc, etc. Oh, and zero health insurance for anyone, 12 hour work days and no weekends.

Things are getting better, my friends. Much, much better.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bloggers are "Preposterous Pseudo-Authorities"

Recently, a friend forwarded my blog URL to his teacher friend. This is how he responded:
“Despite the fact that I've started a blog for my students to use in their test preparation, I feel that blogging is the beginning of the end for academia- it's as if anybody can now be an authority on anything. It's hard enough for my students to sift through Bob's big biology page and other similarly preposterous pseudo-authorities, without people blogging their lights out with their opinions. Ahhhh! Nevertheless, I'll give it a read.”
So, the ability for anyone to have unbridled freedom to write whatever the hell they want for free is "the beginning of the end for academia"? Hmmm. That says more about academia that it does about blogging ...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The one time I vomited while kissing someone was the only time I cheated.

It was the summer after high school senior year and I left for "beach week" a few days before my sophomore girlfriend was to arrive. I motored down the highway in my 1966 GTO (no joke) to start partying. After arriving at 3AM, Andy Harper and I started the week off with a drink made of 50/50 orange juice and grain alcohol and stumbled off down Coastal Highway.

The next night, after an afternoon of launching water balloons and oranges off our balcony with a three-man slingshot made from surgical tubing, some white trash kids started calling up to us from the balcony below. Our party had already started, so we invited them up.

The next thing I remember, I was in the bathroom with a strange young woman (classy, I know) who had a heavy eastern shore accent and a marijuana pipe. Now, those who know me understand that I can't "handle my weed" and I was no different back then.

My final memory was becoming cognizant of the fact that I was in the midst of sucking face with a Maryland farmer's daughter. My drunk/high brain made the connection that I was cheating so I pulled away from her just in time to project the remnants of that day's half-digested food into the bathtub beside us. From what I recall, she was a little put-off, but didn't go screaming out of the bathroom. It was in her interest to pretend nothing happened. I mean, would you tell anyone that someone you'd been making out with vomited in the heat of passion? I don't think so.

Other than that moment, I've never cheated on any of my lady friends in my life. I promise.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Man vs. Sea No Longer Important?

If you're looking for hardcore ocean adventure television, prepare yourself for disappointment. You're stuck with either The Deadliest Catch or some shark documentary on Discovery Channel.

My suggestion: a reality TV program about an around the world sailing race. It would be the best adventure TV in existence. Don't believe me? Check out this short documentary (WMV file) of the 2001-2002 Volvo Ocean Race. Not convinced? Here's another one (WMV file) from the 2005-2006 VOR. Out of breath yet? You should be.

Regrettably, other than par-for-the-course oceanography programs and Dealiest Catch, there's a dearth of quality TV programs about humans battling oceans. And no, Survivor and Lost do NOT count. While fine enough programs in their own right, they're not the kind of jaw-clenching, salt-sprayed epics that we deserve. I'm talking about a program that's physically exhausting to watch, people.

There was a time when Man vs. Sea was considered an important conflict in life an literature, wasn't there? ... Wasn't there?

(Video credits: Gregory Sports)

Friday, May 05, 2006

You Want "Huddled Masses"? How about 142,962 in 2005?

During the immigration debate, many people assume that the USA is stingy with allowing immigrants to come to the US legally, so it must be done through extra-legal means. That security-obssessed Uncle Sam is barring the poor and downtrodden from entering and defying our "nation of immigrants" heritage. That's total fantasy.

I just found a recent government (USCIS - formerly INS) report (PDF: 6 pages) which is very interesting with regards to US legal immigration.

The number of legal "asylees" and "refugees" who gained Legal Permanent Residence (LPR - "green card") in 2005 was 142,962 (page 2 of above report). Over the course of 2003-2005, the number of asylees and refugees totalled 259,119. Just some perspective: that's just under half the population of Washington, DC.

The overall total number of legal immigrants (LPRs) in 2005 was 1,122,373, just under the population of Dallas but larger than Detroit. Over the course of 2003-2005, the US gave LPR status to 2,786,083 legal immigrants. Check out what size US city that compares to here.

In addition, the US's Diversity Lottery allows 55,000 foreign nationals to become LPRs every year. The purpose of the program is to encourage citizens of countries "with low rates of immigration to the United States" to live the American dream. 55,000 is about half the size of Gary, Indiana. The program excludes Mexicans, because Mexico sends the US more LPRs than any other country, with 161,445 in 2005 (452,720 Mexican LPRs from 2003-2005).

It might sound cheesy, but these statistics make me proud of my country (this might be the first time I've ever said that). We really DO reach out to the world and get them a fair chance. So why do so many people think that the US is so unfair to immigrants? We're simply not. More people immigrate to the US than any other country. I asked people in my office (a very left-wing establishment) how many asylees and refugees they thought the US gave LPR status to in 2005. Their guesses ranged from 500 to 1,200. But they all sheepishly grinned when I said the actual number was well over 142,000.

I'm dumbfounded.

Anyway, I suppose these are forbidden thoughts and I'll surely be accused of being "right wing". Because, you know, it's always fascist to point out that maybe the USA isn't so bad after all ...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I Was Once Cock-Blocked by Adam Eidinger

Yes, that Adam Eidinger. The stadium protester and Green Party candidate that the Washington Post once called a "brawler" after he attacked DC councilmember Harold Brazil and one-time "Presidential Announcer", Charlie Brotman. The Adam Eidinger that the popular blogger, DC SOB, once described as an "emo loser with an insatiable need for the spotlight". This fellow once blocked me in my harmless desire to get a piece of ass. It's the most embarrassing admission I've made on this blog, but it's true.

It was the late 90s, and I was wooing a young woman---a fellow left wing activist----while we were "wheat pasting" along what they now call the "U Street Corridor". In case you were never involved in leftist politics, wheat pasting is when a group of like-minded people (radical lefties) with five gallon buckets of wallpaper solution and a couple of paint rollers roam the city looking for good spots to paste over-sized posters (propaganda).

You might think radical lefties are only interested in their mission (whatever cause célèbre that's in vogue), but in reality the sexual tension runs HIGH, and that ends up being a large part of the activity at hand---hooking up. Come on. Here's a collection of overly passionate 20-somethings running around the city trying to be revolutionaries, and you're surprised that they DON'T want to fuck each other?

You see where this is going. I was flirting hard one night on U Street while wheat pasting, and I thought she would be going home with the bald guy (me), but she chose the thick-haired dude with dark-rimmed glasses instead. And I was especially emasculated when she called me the next morning from his house to see what I was up to. Lord.

Nothing against Mr. Eidinger---I just had to get this out of my system once and for all ...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

For the benefit of humankind, I vow NOT to wear flip flops this summer.

You've never thought, "You know, I really enjoy looking at a man's bare feet." Hopefully, no one has. At best, a man's feet look like a pair of shaved squirrels, and at worst, like a pair of cheese-and-hair-encrusted tumors.

Every spring, I go through this dilemma. I either wear flip flops and allow my feet to breathe---all the while torturing the viewing public---or I stifle my feet in two sweat factories called shoes.

This year I've come to a compromise: the Columbia boat shoe. Didn't see that coming, did you. These shoes have holes in the soles for water drainage and and breathability. Mind you, I won't be able to step in any puddles that are deeper than four millimeters, but I will no longer torture the public by forcing them to see my ugly-ass feet. (One exception: if I'm within 10 feet of a large body of water).

Monday, May 01, 2006

Your 20% Tip is for Service *AND* Experience. Don't You Forget It.

Real Situation #1: You're at a restaurant, receiving perfectly fine service from the wait staff, when you bite into something very hard in your sandwich. You fish around in your mouth and discover a shard of glass. You put the shard on a coaster and ask for management. You're not injured, and would be happy with a free meal, but the manager refuses, saying that you must pay full price.

Real Situation #2: You're at a restaurant, receiving perfectly fine service from the wait staff, but your jaw aches from how tough the steak is. You mention it to the wait staff, they take it back, but the owner comes out and berates you for 15 minutes for insulting his establishment.

Let's say you left 20% in both situations. Wouldn't you feel emasculated? What recourse would you have, other than not going back and telling all your friends not to go? In extreme cases, the damage must go deeper, my restaurant-going friend. Leave a dog turd of a tip, or none at all, and you'll not only make the waiter hate his job and want to quit---therefore doing financial damage to the restaurant in the long run---but what's more, you'll feel vindicated.

But strangely, there are a number of people who would tip in the above situations. They're the same folks who force you and your friends to give some jerk-off rude waiter a 20% tip on a meal that came an hour late, just because it's hard to be a waiter (picture me, sarcastically making a miniature violin with my thumb and forefinger). Those friends must be man-handled and stopped.

The customer has the right to good service and a good experience while eating out. No duh. You should leave a shitty tip or zero tip for two reasons: 1) to teach a crappy waiter to get better or quit, or; 2) to force a crappy restaurant to go out of business because the wait staff keeps leaving. That might sound harsh, but think of it as tough love.

(Disclaimer: I tip 20% in 99% of the times I dine out. And yes, I've waited tables before, so don't even try that line.)

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